Agenda item

Presentation by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

To receive a presentation from representatives of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB).


That the update be noted.



The Chair welcomed and introduced Mr. John Darlington, Assistant Director of Planning (BCUHB), and Jon Falcus, Operational Manager, Wrexham Maelor Hospital.  She invited them to provide an update on service change/developments and respond to the issues which had been raised by Members in advance of the meeting


Mr. Darlington and Mr. Falcus thanked the Committee for the opportunity to provide an update about key areas of public health practice in the County and gave a brief overview of the structural changes and developments which had taken place in BCUHB.


In response to the question on the removal of services from Flintshire, including Deeside Hospital, Mr. Darlington and Mr. Falcus said they were not aware of any services withdrawn from Flintshire.  Mr. Darlington referred to the importance of Deeside Hospital and  explained that significant capital development had been made in Deeside to expand the range of services for the area and population.  Mr. Falcus commented on the work being undertaken to re-establish links with the Authority’s Social Services department to develop a closer working relationship between Deeside Community Hospital, BCUHB, and the Countess of Chester Hospital. 


Mr. Falcus the changes put in place at Deeside Hospital to maintain quality of care and referred to the secondment of a senior charge nurse, and the allocation of an additional 8 beds from May 2014.  He also commented on the need to recruit nursing staff as a result of the increase in the number of  beds at Deeside Hospital and whilst this had presented a challenge it was anticipated that appointments would be made by September 2014.  He advised that since March 2014 a range of measures had been introduced  to assess the quality of services delivered in Deeside Hospital and significant improvement had been made in terms of quality of care which should be sustained.


During discussion Mr. Darlington and Mr. Falcus responded to the additional  comments and queries raised by Members around the increased pressure on main hospitals due to closure of local cottage/community hospitals, demands of a future ageing population and the new Deeside Enterprise Zone. 


Concerning the question on the hearing clinic being discontinued at Deeside Hospital, Mr. Darlington advised that BCUHB continued to provide an audiology service at Deeside Hospital, however, the Countess of Chester had withdrawn its audiology service from the site.    


                        The Chair expressed congratulations, on behalf of the Committee, to

Mr. Darlington and Mr. Falcus, for the recent award received by Deeside hospital.


                        Concerning the question on cross boundary issues Mr. Darlington commented on the ongoing collaborative work  with the Countess of Chester in terms of managerial and clinical matters.  Regarding Flintshire residents accessing treatment at Gobowen, Mr. Darlington advised that access to Gobowen was the same for Flintshire areas as elsewhere in North Wales and that  all patients in North Wales received the same treatment and standard of care.  BCUHB had a contract with Gobowen to provide a range of services and was an important partner in terms of specialised services.  Mr. Darlington and Mr. Falcus responded to the further queries raised around patient choice and explained that patient choice was part of the English policy but there was not a policy of choice in Wales.  Mr. Falcus highlighted the significant increase in the range of services in local areas and the development of services in Flintshire.  He advised that GPs were encouraged to refer patients to Deeside Hospital rather than Countess of Chester. 


                         Referring to Podiatry Services and changes to the clinic arrangements in local centres and hospitals, Members were informed that the changes were a  temporary measure and that the Podiatry Services would be moved to the new Buckley Health Centre when completed. 


In response to the question concerning a reduced service at Mold Hospital X-Ray department, Mr. Falcus confirmed that the X-Ray service was reduced in April 2013, however, following the purchase of new equipment there are proposals to increase the number of sessions at Mold hospital.  Mr. Falcus agreed to provide information to the Committee on the timeline for the commencement and number of sessions. 


Concerning Dementia services and the outcome of CSSIW Inspection, Members sought BCUHBs view regarding moving forward on the recommendations within the report to progress Dementia services and the dementia care provision at Mold Cottage Hospital.  Mr. Darlington referred to the need for a joint commissioning plan with the Authority and commented on the  ongoing work with the Director of Community Services and his Team to develop a joint plan to respond to the recommendations within the CSSIW Report. 


The Chief Officer Social Services referred to the many positive outcomes in the CSSIW Inspection Report.  He said there were also some areas which required further improvement and that an action plan had been produced to address the recommendations.  It was agreed that the Action Plan would be submitted to the meeting of the Committee in September 2014 for consideration.  


On the question of recruitment of staff, Mr. Falcus advised that there was a shortfall in nursing staff in England and Wales and said recruitment was also taking place from Europe to fill the vacancies.  He also referred to a shortage in medical staff in some areas in a range of specialities.  In answer to the comments made by Councillor Peter Curtis regarding retention of staff and use of agency workers, Mr. Falcus said the objective was to get to a position where agency staff were used as an absolute minimum.  Members raised a number of further issues around primary care in relation to recruitment of GPs and NHS dentists and suggested that the Primary Care Support team be invited to attend a future meeting of the Committee to provide more detailed information.    


Concerning the issue of Infection control which had been raised by Members, Mr. Falcus reported that a review of the infection control services in BCUHB had been undertaken. He referred to the range of structural and governance changes being put in place as a result and advised that infection control in North East Wales was kept under weekly review and if a case was identified a root cause analysis was undertaken.  He also gave an overview of the rigorous procedures in place to control Cdiff, and the cleaning regimes in all sites to reduce the risk of infection.  During discussion Mr. Falcus responded to the concerns raised by Members regarding hospital visiting times, handwashing,  and the wearing of staff uniforms outside hospitals.


It was agreed that  Mr. Darlington and Mr. Falcus would provide a detailed consolidated response to the additional issues which had been raised by Members during discussion.   The Chair thanked Mr. Darlington and Mr. Falcus for an informative update and responses to Members’ questions and welcomed the initiatives and progress achieved to improve the health and well being of residents in Flintshire. 




That the update be noted.


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